THE GREAT AND THE GOOD
The British Ex-boxers’ Hall of Fame event attracts some former world champions
THIS year’s British Ex-boxers’ Hall of Fame event was held at the Premier Suite, Cannock, on Sunday September 15, and hosted by the Central Ex-boxers’ Association. Again, it was a great success.
“We did our best,” CEBA Secretary Paul Nutting said modestly. “We tried to ensure that guests had an enjoyable afternoon, being entertained by a singer and table magician, as well as giving all guests a commemorative EBA Hall of Fame badge as a memento of the occasion. We had guests from America and Dubai, as well as from all over the UK. The camaraderie that exists within the ex-boxers’ associations was very much in evidence on the day. Hopefully this event will go from strength to strength over the years. Good luck to Essex EBA for next year’s event.”
I was delighted that three of the inductees (in the Lifetime Service to Boxing category) are prominent EBA officers – Leeds President Allan Richardson, London Chairman Charlie Wright and Leicester President and Chairman Mick Greaves. I spoke to Charlie and Mick afterwards, and they confirmed they had a great time.
“I was honoured and delighted,” Mick said. “Fourteen of us went from Leicester, and we all enjoyed it very much. The place and the people were amazing, and I was astonished how many people were there. There were lots of fighters, including a lot of younger ones. That’s so encouraging.”
Among those present were former world title-holders Ray Mancini, EX-WBA lightweight titlist from Ohio; John H. Stracey, Bethnal Green’s former WBC welter king; and John Conteh, Liverpool’s previous WBC light-heavyweight ruler.
“I spoke to Mancini – he was terrific,” Mick said. “Very friendly. And Conteh was very amiable, too – very approachable. And that makes it better for everyone else. Some so-called sports stars are so standoffish, but boxers take the attitude ‘We’re all the same.’ You never get the ‘us and them’ scenario.”
My good friend Charlie Wright said he was “honoured” to be inducted. “London took three tables,” he said. “I was well supported by both London and Essex. John Conteh made a point of congratulating me, and insisted we had a picture taken together – two Scousers!”
Charlie also gave me the good news that there was a healthy contingent from Scotland, to applaud the late Benny Lynch’s induction in the Posthumous category. Benny, one of Scotland’s best-
ever fighters, was recognised as world flyweight champion between 1935 and 1938. His death at 33, ravaged by alcohol, was a tragedy. But he deserves to be revered for his ring achievements – and I understand that the Scottish EBA are planning to have a statue put up for him. It’s an honour he deserves – and I’ll happily publish more news when I get it.
The current Scottish EBA newsletter includes an interesting article on another fine flyweight – Elky Clark. Clark won British, Empire and European honours – unlike Lynch he couldn’t make it to the very top, losing on points to Fidel Labarba in a world title challenge. But (again, unlike Lynch) Clark kept his money and his health. After retiring he ran a pub in Glasgow called the Lonsdale Bar, then became a successful boxing writer with the
I like the message in the SEBA newsletter – “Amateur or professional boxers and very important boxing fans – we would be pleased to welcome you to SEBA.” As I’ve said before, you don’t have to have boxed to belong to an EBA. If you love the sport, seriously consider joining your local EBA.
Someone who recently did just that was Tommy Neild, a boxing fan from Manchester. To quote the current MEBA newsletter: “A big welcome to a new member – Tommy.”
The newsletter also has an article on Dewey Bozella, whose pro log read one bout, one win. What’s so remarkable about that? He didn’t box professionally until he was 52! It’s quite a story!
GOOD IMPRESSION: Mancini – erce in the ring but friendly out of it